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Archives by Month: September, 2009

We are proceeding with our analysis of the Somaskanda froms in Pallava period today. We had earlier seen the one in the Dharamaraja Ratha ( to be correct we should be called it Atyantakama pallavesvara griham ) and compared it stylistically with the one in the Shore temple - Rajasimeshwara Shrine. We also looked at the outlines of the chiseled out Somaskanda panel in the Ramanuja Mandabam.

Recapping the questions that were posed based on the 2 parts of the series seen so far:

1. Between the two styles seen so far, which could be classified as the prototype / earliest and which is stylistically more evolved.

2. What are the stylistic and inconographic differences that can be spotted among the two.

3. Basing on the above, the panel in the Ramanuja Mandaba belongs to which style.

While we are waiting for viewer responses, lets proceed to another splendid example of the Pallava somaskanda, in the tiger cave complex. We have already seen these ( not one but three somaskandas) and the reason for them being there, when we studied evidence of the presence of three shiva lingas in the Atiranchanda Mandabam.

the atiranchanda mandabam as it stands today

Lets look at the central shrine of this cave first. Multiple views to give you an idea of its beauty.

the central shrine
somaskanda in the main shrine

Do you see the Somaskanda Panel etched behind the shiva linga. Dont worry, we will take you closer.

the prismatic lingam and somaskanda
closer look at the somaskanda
the closest

A trace to further assist you.

somaskanda tiger cave central shrine

Now, we step back to view the other two somaskanda panels.

highlights where we are going to focus
the somasskanda panel on the left
the somasskanda panel on the right

The two Panels now

the somaskanda in outer wall right side
the somaskanda in the outerwall leftside

and their traces

ss tiger cave left
ss tiger cave right

Questions for readers:

1. What style are these Somaskanda Panels?
2. Are all three somaskandas attributable to the same period?

We continue our journey in subsequent posts

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In the previous post, we saw stylistically the earliest and latest somaskanda images.

Today, we are going to see why the Somaskanda Panel in the Dharmaraja Ratha is the earliest available panel of this form.

Lets take a look again at the Somaskanda panel from the Dharamaraja Ratham and the sketch.

Somaskanda dharamaraja ratha
somaskanda dharmaraja ratha

To compare it with say a typical Rajasimha style Somaskanda - we have a beautiful almost perfect specimen from the Rajasimeshwara Temple in the shore temple complex ( the shore temple is a complex shrine comprising of an earlier Vishnu shrine buttressed by two shiva shrines - the Rajasimeshwara and Kshatriyasimeshwara shrines - the Kshatriyasimeshwara too has a Somaskanda but we will see that in a subsequent post)

shore temple rajasimeshwara somaskanda
shore temple

A sketch to assist you in finding the differences. Lets see if you can point out the characteristic differences between the two Somaskandas.

A further twist to the various puzzles that abound in Mallai, the Ramanuja Mandaba is the most complete of the structures but due acts of vandalism - its like a slate that’s been wiped clean. Someone has chiseled out the door guardians, the three relief panels inside as well.

ramanuja mandabam mallai
vandalised somaskanda outline ramanuja mandabam mallai

But as they say no crime is perfect, the chiseled out panel does leave an outline. The central shrine clearly shows the outline of a Somaskanda

anotherview of ramanuja mandabam ss outline
ramanuja mandabam ss outline

Lets try and trace that and see what style is it - the Dharamaraja Ratha style or the Rajasimeshavara style.

somaskanda outline ramanuja mandabam mallai

To assist you, i am giving some additional outlines of the Shiva and Umai sides of the Dharamaraja Ratha Somaskandar

shiva dharamaraja ratha somaskanda panel
umai - dharmaraja ratha somaskanda

Hope you dont need any further clues. Lets test your observations skills.

Images courtesy:

Varalaaru.com. and Mr Ashok

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